EDITORIAL: Wages rising as the Trump economy roars

The U.S. economy continues to flourish under President Donald Trump. His administration’s pro-growth policies — attacking burdensome regulations and reducing the tax burden on businesses and individual wage earners — have helped beat down the unemployment rate to its lowest level in half a century.

As a result, opportunity abounds.

It’s become gospel on the left that regulatory reform and tax relief amount to welfare for the wealthy. In fact, however, the competitive labor market — spurred in part by administration policies that have unshackled the private economy and left more money in the hands of those who earn it — has provided tangible benefits to low-income and middle-class workers.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the nation’s 3.7 percent unemployment rate is “creating worker shortages and wage gains, not just for high-skilled workers who tend to command the best pay but also for low-skilled and blue-collar workers whose wages lag behind.” A study by the Conference Board found wages in construction, retail and maintenance have grown faster than salaries in white-collar management jobs.

That conclusion meshes with Labor Department statistics showing the “lowest-paid Americans saw weekly earnings grow more than 5 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier,” the Journal noted, “more than the national median gain of 1.7 percent for all workers.”

Those benefiting the most? Younger and less-educated workers.

Recall that congressional Democrats spent most of early 2018 hammering Mr. Trump and the GOP for providing tax relief to the vast majority of Americans. The reform was a “cynical one-two gut punch to the middle class — raise their taxes to pay for corporate tax cuts and then decimate their earned benefits as a kicker.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi labeled the bill “Armageddon” and “the end of the world.”

Eventually, Democrats honed in on the argument that greedy capitalists were chortling as they spent their newfound loot on yachts and caviar when they should have been applying the tax savings to worker salaries. In February, The Washington Post published a smug op-ed arguing the Democratic attacks were clearly vindicated becaue the benefits of corporate tax reform weren’t flowing to U.S. workers.

So much for that narrative.

All this should be a reminder about the importance of the upcoming election. Independent voters shouldn’t forget that many House Democrats have pledged to repeal the GOP tax bill while pushing back against the White House’s efforts to trim the administrative state. The results would be entirely predictable — and wouldn’t include helping low-skilled U.S. workers.

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